Thank you, annoying people

People can be so annoying. Argggghhhh!

Modern life’s filled with delays, demands, reasons to wait.

Life can become one big irritation.

Our shoulders tense and our faces grimace as we curse under our breath at yet another red light, slow driver, long line-up, or pressure to do even more.

A good day can become hell-in-a-handbasket as our internal thermostat of frustration and pressure continues to climb.

As the sense of frustration and stress accumulates throughout the day, we become like tightly wound springs.

If we stuff those feelings down inside, they make us sick, affecting our mental, emotional and physical health. 

We can end up releasing tension on unsuspecting, innocent people, safe people, like our families. When this happens, a whole new set of problems develop.

What to do?  Gratitude is a powerful antidote.

As a young person, it drove me crazy when my aunt would remind me to be grateful for my health and ability to walk when I was on a rant about something. I wanted to slug her. But she was on to something I didn’t understand. 

Just like me with my aunt, I’ve had people become frustrated and annoyed when they hear about the power of gratitude. They are likely the ones who’d benefit the most from this age-old practice.

Don’t be too quick to dismiss the power of this simple, yet effective exercise.

Science is revealing there’s wisdom in the old adage to be grateful.

The power of gratitude came to mind again recently when a friend, Midge, told me about a time when she made her living driving people to appointments. She’s such a sweet person and I couldn’t imagine a better companion for people needing a ride.

Yet, her frustration with traffic began to take a toll, and she didn’t feel so sweet.

By the end of the day, she was so filled with a physical sense of frustration, even her clothing became an irritation. She grew very unhappy. 

She’d have to go sit alone when she got home to decompress, just to allow her to take care of her family. She knew something had to change and she needed help.

The help came when she started to practice gratitude, but with a new twist I’d not heard of.

With each delay, Midge began to pause and list seven things she was grateful for.

With her new practice, red lights and traffic delays became an opportunity to pause and be grateful.

This simple practice was a game changer for her. Her sense of frustration fell dramatically, and her happiness and health increased.

Practising gratitude boosts the production of neuro-chemicals and hormones that support well-being. Our brains and our bodies benefit from practising gratitude.

Even if we can’t find anything to be grateful for, the mere practice of stopping to look for something to be grateful for creates a shift.

Or, you can up the power of gratitude.

While merely listing what we are grateful for is helpful, thinking of why we’re grateful for the items on our list enhances the benefits we receive.

Try this out for yourself, paying attention to how you feel inside.

Think of something you’re grateful for, pause for a moment and notice how you feel. Then list the reasons why you’re grateful. How do you feel now?

For example, my husband, Tom, is frequently on my gratitude list. That’s nice. 

But, when I consider all of his beautiful personal qualities and the amazing way he supports me, I can feel a deepening of my gratitude. Sometimes, I’m moved to lovely tears as I remember how blessed I am and I appreciate him even more.

And, what we appreciate grows. It appreciates.

For me, following Midge’s wisdom, I’ve expanded my gratitude practice. No longer is it something I do once a day. Gratitude’s now a practice I use throughout the day.

Especially when I notice a sense of tension in my body, I pause and list seven things I’m grateful for, and consider why I am grateful. It’s paying huge dividends.

It’s easy as I recognize the privilege of my life. The phrase "First World problems" often comes to mind as I realize I can choose to see the benefits of my life, or the challenges. So much of what I griped about as a challenge is actually a privilege not afforded to many in this world.

So, give gratitude a try.

You’ll be looking forward to those red lights and long line ups. When we use delays or frustrating people as a reminder to be grateful, we’re boosting our health, and enhancing our experience of life.

So many opportunities to practice. Thank you, annoying people.

Be like Midge. Thank you. I am grateful.


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About the Author

Corinne is first a wife, mother, and grandmother, whose eclectic background has created a rich alchemy that serves to inform her perspectives on life.

Corinne, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in Health Science, is a staff minister with the Centre for Spiritual Living Kelowna, and a hospice volunteer. She is an adjunct professor with the school of nursing  at UBC Okanagan, and is currently teaching smartUBC, a unique Mindfulness program offered at UBC, to the public. She is an invited speaker and presenter.

From diverse experience and knowledge, personally and professionally, Corinne has developed an extraordinary passion for helping people to gain a new perspective, awaken, and to recognize that we do not have to be a slave to our thoughts or to life; we are always at a point of change.

Through this column, Corinne blends her insights and research to provide food for the mind and the heart, to encourage an awakening of the power and potential within everyone.

Corinne lives in Kelowna with her husband of 41 years, and can be reached at [email protected].

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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